Moussaka, or, no egg(plant) on my face..


mmmmmmmmmm, moussaka

I was on Long-uh Island last weekend. Whenever I go to L.I. I insist on at least one diner experience. The Diner experience doesn’t really exist in the south. We try occasionally, but our efforts are more nostalgia n’ burgers, rather than the multifaceted-multi-paged-multi-itemed honest-to-God, diner.

I always order moussaka (and an egg cream for dessert). Occasionally I’ll see moussaka on a menu here in town, and some of the attempts are not really too bad, but there’s nothing like the real deal. I’ll leave it to the culinary gurus to explain what goes into moussaka, but eggplant and tomato sauce are two key elements.

I order moussaka because diner chefs know how to cook moussaka, and I love the many tastes that tease through the layers. But, I also order moussaka for another less gustatory reason.

Thirty years ago I was falling for this woman in a big way. We both lived in Brooklyn. We both loved to eat at a restaurant named ‘Z’ on Union Square in Manhattan. We were poor and you could order some seriously tasty gyros for cheap-o, and when you were a little more flush, you could order the moussaka.

It was springtime but I was falling, reeled by love. I had to leave for one week on a fund-raising trip (part of the fun of being a social worker for a non-profit). Each day away from that woman was sheer agony. By the end of the week, my future became clear. When I returned to the city, we met at ‘Z’. I never asked for her hand because we had already wordlessly passed that point and we both somehow knew it. The only issue left was the date of the wedding. The moussaka was a golden flavoring to a perfect day.

Nearly 30 years later, I always order moussaka when I visit New York.



Filed under friends and family, the shiznit list

7 responses to “Moussaka, or, no egg(plant) on my face..

  1. As you should.
    My God, they are beautiful. I love it when people can paint and express themselves so eloquently.

  2. This is a lovely post and a lovely tribute to your very, very talented wife. I’m truly touched. Thank you.

  3. Seriously didn’t realize how sappy you can be! ;-P

    I kid.

    I love traditions and doing things like that because they hold such precious meaning.

    Have you ever been to the Greek Fesitval held at the Greek Orthodox Church on Franklin Road. It’s always the second (I think) weekend in September. I bet you could get some excellent moussaka there.

  4. A very sweet tribute to your lovely wife. And, now I’m hungry!!!

  5. Beyond the great tribute…an epiphany…you’re a NY’er by birth? Tell me not a Yankee fan? Oh God, I guess I will ignore that when I gravitate towards your blog daily even though I am from the Beantown area & bleed BoSox red white & blue.

  6. good news and bad news, LeBlanc. I am a Nashvillian..I went to New York in the second half of the 1970s for a church-related inner city social work program. The woman who became my wife joined the program at the same time.

    Bad news: I’ve been a yellow-dog Yankee fan since 1960. Here’s my mantra..WhiteyFord,ElstonHoward,MooseSkowran,BobbyRichardson,TonyKubek,CleteBoyer,YogiBerra,MickyMantle,RogerMaris.

    How could I resist? And no, I’m not a ‘king George’ fan, but the Yankees were the Yanks before he arrived and will still be the Yanks long after.

    Thanks for visiting, LeBlanc (is that a singular or a plural?). I love how your new site looks.

  7. I guess I can’t fault you for falling in love with them while being in the big city. We can agree to disagree on baseball and still act nice! Maybe it is the whole Steinbrenner thing that bugs me but he has been there as long as I can remember.

    Thanks for the nice words on the site but it was mostly Lynn’s doing. I enjoy it more than (the always down) Blogger.

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